With free agency beginning this past Thursday, the MLB off-season is in full swing. While there are some attractive free agents on the market, there a lot of big names on the trade block as well. Teams in need will be willing to pay a steep price to fill holes on their rosters. Here are some bold trade ideas for some teams to fill those holes, and strengthen their rosters.
Francisco Lindor and Brad Hand to the Dodgers for Gavin Lux, Keibert Ruiz, and Mitchell White
Lindor has been linked to the Dodgers a lot early in the offseason. While the Dodgers still have Corey Seager under control until 2022, acquiring Lindor could shift Seager to the third base and Justin Turner to first base. This move could improve the Dodgers’ defense dramatically, as Turner turned in a subpar defensive year at third base (-7 DRS). After Kenley Jansen struggled this season, Brad Hand would be a huge pick up for the team’s pitching.
Unfortunately, this would leave Lux as the odd man out of the infield for the club. Lux is ranked as the second-best prospect in baseball and showed flashes of greatness in 2019, but he looked a little overmatched in the bigs. He only hit .240/.305/.400 (85 OPS+) with 24 strikeouts in 84 plate appearances (29.3% K-rate). However, he tore up the minors with a blistering .347/.421/.621 line, including a monstrous .392//478/.719 line in Triple-A. Lux still has a ton of upside, and he looks like he’d be a great replacement for Lindor.
In addition to Lux, Keibert Ruiz appears to have hit a roadblock on his way to the bigs. Will Smith was very impressive and likely claimed the catcher spot for the foreseeable future. Ruiz battled injuries in 2019 but is still ranked as the #33rd best prospect in baseball. His offense took a step back this season, but he’s overall developed into a strong offensive catcher and a solid defender. Considering that the Indians lack depth at catcher, Ruiz would be a great get for them. The Indians also are in need of young pitchers, which makes White a reasonable get for them.
Mookie Betts to the Mets for Dom Smith, Andres Gimenez, and David Peterson
The only reason why the Red Sox wouldn’t get more in this situation is that Betts is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. While Betts wasn’t as spectacular in 2019 as he was in 2018, he was still a very good player. Additionally, Betts won a Gold Glove for the fourth straight season. The Mets had the worst defense in baseball and lack speed, which is why they desperately need a player like Betts.
Smith and Gimenez both have tons of upside, but unfortunately, they are both blocked at their respective positions. Smith finally showed off his offensive skills by batting .282/.355/.525 (134 OPS+) with 11 homers in 197 plate appearances. However, he rates as a below-average outfielder and is blocked at first base by Pete Alonso. Gimenez is a highly touted shortstop prospect, as he is ranked the #92nd best prospect in baseball by MLB.com. However, Amed Rosario and Ronny Mauricio are both ahead of Gimenez on the organizational depth chart. Smith and Gimenez could both help the Red Sox solidify their infield for the future.
As for Peterson, he made considerable strides in Double-A this past season. He profiles as a high strikeout pitcher (122 Ks in 116 innings pitched) who keeps the ball in the yard (just nine homers allowed). Once he fills out, Peterson could slot in as a solid mid-rotation arm.
Kris Bryant to the Twins for Trevor Larnach, Nick Gordon, and Lewis Thorpe
This is certainly the least likely trade to occur of the three proposals, but it’s not impossible. The Twins need pitching more than hitting, but Bryant would add thump to an already potent lineup. While Miguel Sano had a strong 2019, his inconsistency is still a concern. Bryant would be an upgrade at third base, or he could potentially play first base where he’d be a huge boost over C.J. Cron. Regardless of where he plays, Bryant could further solidify the Twins as one of the premier teams in the AL.
Larnach is the furthest from the big leagues of the three prospects, but he possesses the most upside. A first-round pick in 2018, Larnach is ranked the #77th best prospect in baseball. Across High-A and Double-A in 2019, he hit a strong .309/.384/.458 with 13 homers in 476 plate appearances. Chicago lacks outfield depth, and Larnach rates as a solid defender in the outfield. He would definitely have a place in the Cubs’ plans.
Gordon and Thorpe both have been in the Twins’ organization for a while now. Gordon may not be the star that people thought he would be when he was picked fifth overall in the 2014 Draft, but he’s still a good prospect. He hit a solid .298/.342/.459 and stole 16 bases in 2019 while playing solid defense at second base and shortstop. Thorpe has had his fair share of ups and downs since he came stateside in 2012. He had a great 2018 season, and while his numbers weren’t as pretty in 2019, he still maintained high strikeout numbers (119 Ks in 96.1 innings pitched; 11.1 K/9). Thorpe even reached the Majors in 2019 and could slot in well as a mid-rotation starter.
Will Any Of These Trades Happen?
While none of these trades have a 100% chance of happening, Lindor, Betts, and Bryant have been the most talked about trade candidates this off-season. It is widely expected that at least one of three will get traded. These exact trades mentioned may not happen, but don’t be surprised if the teams involved don’t change.
Do you think any of these stars will get traded? Let us know in the comments!
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